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F1 | Szafnauer: Ocon is ready to lead Alpine in 2023

Esteban Ocon is ready to lead the Alpine F1 team says Otmar Szafnauer after Fernando Alonso's shock departure to Aston Martin.

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F1 | Szafnauer: Ocon is ready to lead Alpine in 2023
Fuente imagen: @OconEsteban

Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer says Esteban Ocon is ready to lead the team after Fernando Alonso’s shock departure at the end of the season.

Szafnauer hailed the Frenchman’s talent but conceded that his only weakness is he struggles to be fast immediately on race weekends.

"Esteban is a super talent," he noted when speaking to media after Alonso's announcement. "I worked with him at Force India and those were the days of Sergio Perez as his teammate.”

“Although Fernando's got the skill and the talent to get a lap out of the car very quickly. 

“He needs three or four laps and he's at 99%, or 99.9%, and that extra 0.1% comes with a few laps more, if you know what I mean, whereas Esteban takes a little bit more time to get the maximum out of the car.

"But ultimately, on Saturday, and then Sunday, he's there. So he needs to learn a little bit to get there a bit faster. But we're working with him on that."

Aston Martin announced the blockbuster signing of Alonso for 2023 but his replacement at Enstone remains unclear.

Alpine had planned to give the drive to their reserve driver and 2021 Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri, they even announced the Australian prior to the 21-year-old explicitly denying his Alpine seat on social media.

The team currently sit fourth in the constructors and have plethora of drivers available to partner Ocon for next season. 

Former Renault drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo are candidates. However  other potential Alpine drivers have less experience than Ocon which could leave the 25-year-old as the number one driver. 

Szafnauer said that the Grand Prix winner earned his stripes during his arduous battles with Sergio Perez during their stint as team mates at Force India and will develop further next season.

“And he was as quick as Sergio and raced Sergio hard, and if you remember those days, they were always together on the grid. And sometimes they even came together in the races! And we see what Sergio is capable of.

"And thereafter, can he lead the team? For sure he's getting better and better. He's got a race win under his belt. He's scored good points for us this year. And he'll learn more by the time we get to next year."

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